London part 2
November 29, 2009
And of course, besides the cultural richness of London there were the shops!
I think each person has his own personal ‘map’of a city. My London has several pilgrimage points which I always visit, and some of them are shops. But wait a second, I am going to go off on a tangent here. I recently heard of Jan Rothuizen’s Soft Atlas of Amsterdam. He mapped out Amsterdam this way, very personally, drawing his vision of the city. Unfortunately most of the sites for the book are in Dutch, but still, you can get an idea from the pictures.
I kept a sketchbook a bit a la Keri Smith, while in London, but when I came back and heard about the Soft Atlas, I realize I’d done something similar.
So back to my regular consumer haunts in London:
Muji, I always go there for their gel pens, cheap origami paper and irresistable plastic containers of every size, from crate to pillbox. Plus it is one of the coolest stores I know.
The Bead Shop in Covent Garden has long been my favorite destination to restock my rocailles. They have shelves of them arranged by colour! I also bought 4 perfect ovals of African turquoise, dusky and mottled like a jungle river.
Just around the corner near the Seven Dials, is London Graphics Centre. This time I got silver and gold water based block print ink (Speedball) which I haven’t been able to find anywhere else.
Every day I passed by Hotel Chocolat, the kind of place where chocoholics like me think they’ve died and gone to Heaven. I only succumbed on the last day, I bought a slab of orange chilli bitter chocolate. But you could also have all sorts of ‘liquid chocolate’, and too many other exotic and gorgeous treats to mention. Go have a drool at the site.
And finally, good old Waterstones, the perfect place to browse on a cold and rainy Sunday. I saw a book about Banksey there as well as one on Slinkachu’s Little People. And I had a nostalgic time leafing through a coffee table book about the heyday of Biba.
Also, the V&A’s shops are to die for. I treated myself to some adorable ceramic buttons shaped in hearts, flowers, rounds, ovals and squares- I’m going to make jewelry out of them. I held back from the beaded bracelets, little bags, necklaces, books, stunning fabrics, scarves, art supplies, and just plain Things-to-buy-just-to-have.